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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Man murdered brother in “wicked” crime that also left Fife woman with life-threatening burns

July 21 2017

A man has admitted murdering his brother and attempting to murder his brother’s girlfriend in a New Year’s Day house fire. Blair Logan poured petrol on his younger brother Cameron, 23, and the bed he was sharing with Rebecca Williams as they slept at their family home in Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, in the early hours of January 1 this year. Ms Williams was rescued from the fire and treated in hospital, while Logan’s parents were treated for smoke inhalation. Logan, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of murder and attempted murder at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday. He had been arrested two weeks after the fire amid a major Police Scotland investigation. The family dog, Gomez, was also killed in the fire. Defence lawyer Shelagh McCall QC said Logan showed “wicked recklessness” but did not intend to kill his brother. He was said to have “felt physically sick at the whole thing”. Logan has been subject to two psychiatric reports which concluded there was not sufficient evidence for a plea of diminished responsibility. Ms McCall said there were “unusual traits” in Logan’s personality and that he had a lack of understanding of the impact of his actions on other people. Lady Scott asked for a social worker report and set a sentencing date for August 11 at the High Court in Livingston.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Perth & Kinross

School’s new take on Morris dancing

October 4 2016

Pupils at Perth High School enjoyed a free dance workshop celebrating the life and work of dance pioneer Margaret Morris. Dance artists Kasumi Momoda and Yifeng Zhu led the session, which was based on a new choreographic work by Scottish Ballet principal dancer Vincent Hantam. Vincent’s work, inspired by the natural movement form associated with Margaret Morris, will premiere as part of Horsecross Arts’ Movement weekend of exhibitions and performances in Perth on October 15 and 16. The weekend kicks off with a guided tour of the multi-screen exhibition Movement on Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold Wave and newly commissioned films by the Scottish artists Brian Hartley, Su Grierson and Katrina McPherson on the big screen in the Norie-Miller Studio. This will be followed by a triple bill of dance, music, film and light in Perth Concert Hall’s Gannochy Auditorium featuring two solos by Vincent Hantam and Jacqueline Harper with a nine-piece finale by Vincent, Debra Salem and friends. On Sunday morning there will be a double bill guided tour from Perth Concert Hall’s Threshold Wave to the Fergusson Gallery, Perth’s own museum home of the Margaret Morris Archive, as a finissage of the exhibition 125 Years of Margaret Morris. Stuart Hopps stars in one-person drama My Name is Margaret in Perth Concert Hall’s Norie-Miller Studio on Sunday lunchtime which will be followed by a post-show discussion with Stuart and all exhibiting artists. Iliyana Nedkova, co-curator of the exhibition and creative director for contemporary art at Horsecross Arts, the creative organisation behind Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre, said: “Margaret Morris is a true pioneer who changed the face of contemporary dance in Scotland and beyond. “An icon of her time, often compared to Isodora Duncan, yet today her innovation and extravagance would steer more towards the master of re-invention David Bowie. “I am very pleased that our new exhibition Movement at Threshold artspace and the weekend performances at Perth Concert Hall pay a tribute to this woman artist who constantly reinvented herself and her dance over seven extraordinarily innovative decades.”


Dundee City Council defends school spending from ward bias claims

October 31 2015

Education chiefs have been forced to deny that a council ward lottery is funnelling funding towards a handful of Dundee schools. The allegation was made by the city’s Labour Group, which claimed that certain “favoured” schools were receiving upgrades while other more needy schools are missing out. Dundee City Council’s education director Michael Wood said budgetary constraints meant that he was forced to phase-in improvements. He highlighted the £3.5 million spent over the past year and the multi-million pound overhaul planned for the near future. And he pledged to keep working to ensure that every city school is “as good as it can be”. Despite his comments, East End Councillor Lesley Brennan said she believed the council must re-visit its school spending priorities. She said: “I am extremely concerned that the condition of two-thirds of the schools in the East End ward is currently rated “poor” by the Scottish Government. “St Pius’ RC Primary School, Craigiebarns Primary, St Vincent’s RC Primary and Craigie High School are all in need of improvement, but only one has any form of funding identified. “It is not good enough. Where is the funding for deteriorating schools in the East End? “Why is so much money being spent on buildings in other areas such as Councillor Craig Melville’s Maryfield ward that are already rated “satisfactory”? “I think many parents will ask why their schools are being overlooked. A recent report from the Scottish Government rated more-than three quarters of the 54 school buildings in Dundee as “good” or “satisfactory”. That means, however, that 13 are currently rated “poor”, though nine of those have already been earmarked for replacement. Education Director Michael Wood said: “We are committed to ensuring that every school building is as good as it can be. “We have plans to spend £270,000 at Craigiebarns which should bring the standard of the building up significantly. “In the short term, St Vincent’s will be the school it is, but in two-to-three years the pupils will have a new school to move into. “The reality is that the budget is finite. I would love to do it all in one year but I simply cannot. I have to phase improvements in.”


Dundee barber crowned best in Scotland

May 10 2017

A Dundee barber has proved he is a cut above the rest after being chosen as the best in Scotland. Vincent Quinn, head barber at Hard Grind, scooped the trophy at the Scottish Hair and Beauty Show in Edinburgh after impressing the judges with his “captivating stage presence and slick styling skills”. The live final of the competition took place on day one of the Scottish trade show and was hosted by the Great British Barbering Academy, men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge, Salon Services, and trade magazine Barber NV. Vincent said: “I’m incredibly honoured. I was up against some really tough competition, but I’m ecstatic that my performance was enough to impress the judges and the crowd.” At the finals, six shortlisted barbers had to create a man’s hairstyle within one hour and were judged on difficulty, health and safety, techniques used, and overall look. Originally from Manchester, 25-year-old Vincent told the judges that his cut took inspiration from the bowl cuts and ‘Gallagher’ cuts that popular rock band Oasis inspired. Vincent  added: “I’m taking the classic bowl cut and giving it a more modern interpretation. It’s a bowl cut for the indy kids that can be worn every day.” “The art of cutting hair drew me into barbering and has allowed me to express my creativity by constructing shapes with hair. “When I started my training 10-years ago, there wasn’t a great amount on offer as barbering was nowhere near as popular as it is today.” Vincent began his career at the age of 15, when he spent four years at the prestigious Vidal Sassoon salon in Manchester. The Great British Barbering Academy’s Head Educator Mike Taylor said: “Vincent’s cool and collected stage presence really impressed the judges, as did his creative cut. “He should be very proud to call himself Scotland’s Best Barber 2017. It’s certainly no mean feat, and he has done incredibly well to get to this point.” Vincent’s prizes included £500 worth of professional-quality hair and grooming products a £850 barber chair, a shiny new pair of barbering scissors, a year’s subscription to Barber NV, and a double-page spread dedicated to his win in the next edition of the trade magazine.

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


‘He was the heart and soul of the party’ tribute paid to Dundee man

July 3 2013

The body of the man found in the grounds of Dundee International Sports Centre in Mains Loan on Monday has been identified as that of 22-year-old Robbie Low of Pitkerro Drive. He had been reported missing, having last been seen in the Arbroath Road area about 1pm on Sunday. Police Scotland said his family are extremely upset by their sudden loss and he will be greatly missed. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and, as with all sudden deaths, a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal. Robbie, who had a two-year-old son, played ice hockey for the Dundee Tigers, Dundee Stars Juniors, Comets and Ducks. His mother Trisha, 48, said: “Everything was going great for him. “When we left him on Saturday he was going out for a drink. Robbie was fun-loving, loud he was the heart and soul of the party, always playing pranks.” He went to St Vincent’s Primary and St Saviour’s High schools, and went on to work with his father as a slater and roof caster labourer with Dundee City Council.